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First Place Toreros Head to Pacific Northwest

Oct. 9, 2006

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The first place 22nd-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (14-4, 4-0 WCC) will look to extend its four-match winning streak this week as they make a road trip to the Pacific Northwest. On Thursday, the Toreros will head to Portland, Ore. to take on the Pilots of the University of Portland in a 7 p.m. West Coast Conference match. On Saturday, the Toreros will head to Spokane, Wash. for a 1 p.m. WCC match with Gonzaga University.

TOREROS REIGN SUPREME IN SO. CAL: The Toreros claimed bragging rights among the Southern California WCC schools this past week as they recorded 3-1 wins over both Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University to move into sole possession of first place in the WCC. On Thursday, the Toreros took on the, then No. 23, Pepperdine Waves and cruised their way to a 3-1 win. In the match, Kristen Carlson recorded her 10th double-double of the season as she had a match-best 26 kills, tied for a match-best 19 digs and posted a match-best .364 attacking percentage. Laurel Abrahamson tallied the second most kills in the match with 15 while adding four blocks on the evening and had an attacking percentage of .303. Christie Dawson had 12 kills and four blocks on the evening and sophomore setter Jessica Nyrop had her fourth consecutive match with at least 60 assists as she recorded 61 assists to help direct the USD offense to a .231 team attacking percentage. On Saturday, before a live televised audience, the Toreros went to battle with LMU for first place in the conference as both teams had identical 3-0 conference records. USD claimed the 3-1 win with ease. Carlson led all players with her 19 kills on 49 attempts while only committing four attacking errors to post a hitting percentage of .306. Dawson recorded 11 kills and had a season-high seven blocks, one solo. Abrahamson recorded 12 kills and had four blocks and Nyrop recorded 50 assists to help direct the USD offense to a .249 team attacking percentage.

SCOUTING THE PILOTS: The University of Portland enters the week with a 8-8 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the WCC after recording a 3-0 win over Pacific Northwest rival Gonzaga this past week. The Pilots are 7-30 all-time against the Toreros. Portland is led by Nicole Thometz who had a team-best 202 kills (3.65 kills per game) to go along with a 2.67 digs per game average. The floor leader for the Pilots is Kara Pein who has a team-leading 592 assists to help direct the team to a .189 team attacking percentage. The Pilots are under the direction of seventh-year head coach Doug Sparks. During his tenure is Portland, Sparks has posted a 63-122 overall record.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Gonzaga enters the week with a 5-13 overall record and a 0-3 record in the WCC after picking up a non-conference 3-2 win against Idaho and dropping a 3-0 WCC decision to Portland this past week. The Zags are led by junior Becky Jones who has a team-leading 259 kills (3.70 kills per game) and is second on the team in digs with 217 (3.10 digs per game). The floor leader for the Bulldogs is Heather Dunn who has a team-leading 771 assists to help direct the Zags offense to a .185 team attacking percentage. Gonzaga is under the direction of fifth-year head coach Kip Yoshimura. During his tenure is Spokane, Yoshimura has posted a 22-96 overall record.

CARLSON NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: For the second consecutive week, and third time in the past four weeks, senior left-handed outside hitter Kristen Carlson of the University of San Diego was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for volleyball. Carlson helped lead USD to two big 3-1 victories over WCC Southern California rivals Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University this past week to take sole possession of first place in the WCC with a 4-0 record in conference play. For the week, Carlson recorded 5.62 kills per game (45 total kills), had an attack percentage of.337, recorded nine total blocks, four solo, and had three service aces. Carlson also recorded back-to-back double-doubles as she averaged 3.62 digs per game (29 total digs). On the season, Carlson has now recorded 11 double-doubles, leads the WCC in kills per game at 5.09, is second on the team in digs with 191 and has a .261 attack percentage.

ABRAHAMSON GETTING IT DONE: Middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson has been hot as of late for the Toreros. The junior from Bloomington, Minn., has been a formidable force for the Toreros offense as she has recorded double-digit kills in eight of the last 10 matches, including riding a current five-match streak of recording at least 10 kills. Against San Francisco, Abrahamson recorded a season-high 17 kills to help lead USD to a 3-1 win over the Dons and successfully snapping USF's 14-match winning streak.

DAWSON MOVING UP THE CAREER RECORD LIST: Senior Christie Dawson has continued her assault on the San Diego record books as she continues to be the all-time career-leader in hitting percentage at .335. She has also moved into seventh all-time in career kills with 1,248, 108 away from Sara Gunsaulus for sixth place. Dawson also ranked eighth in career-block assists with 211 and is now ninth in solo blocks at 55.

TOREROS HOLDING STEADY IN RANKINGS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team remained at No. 22 in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 rankings. This marks the third consecutive week the Toreros have appeared in the top-25.

GOING STREAKING: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team is in the midst of a four-match winning streak, which ties the longest winning streak this season. The Toreros will look to extend on this streak this week as they head to the Pacific Northwest to play Portland and Gonzaga.

MORE CARLSON: Senior outside hitter Kristen Carlson has been killing opposing defenses and putting a damper on opposing offenses with her team-leading 11 double-double's on the season. This past week, Carlson posted back-to-back double-doubles to make it four consecutive matches with a double-double and has 10 in the past 11 matches. The only match in the past 11 that she hasn't recorded double-digit digs in, was in the 3-1 loss to Wisconsin.

STOP US IF YOU CAN: A common occurrence for the USD offense is the fact that Kristen Carlson, Christie Dawson and Laurel Abrahamson all record double-digit kills in the same game. Of the Toreros 18 games this season, this trio have all tallied double-digit kills in 11 of them. During these 11 games, USD has posted a 10-1 record, including the current four-match winning streak the Toreros are on to open WCC play.

CSASZI SEEING MORE TIME: Freshman Andrea Csaszi (pronounced CHA-zi) has been getting more playing time as of late for the Toreros. Csaszi has been inserted as the starting Libero over the past four matches, and she had made the most of her opportunity. Since being inserted in the starting line-up, she has recorded 56 digs (14.5 digs per game) and recorded four service aces. Csaszi was a catalyst for the Toreros win against San Francisco two weeks ago. Every time she would step back to serve, the Toreros would go on a run.

COACHING CHANGE: The Toreros are under the direction of a new but familiar face. Brent Hilliard, USD's top assistant for the past five seasons, has been moved to interim head coach. Head coach Jennifer Petrie will be taking the semester off to spend time with her new born son Charles, her two-year old daughter Jane, as well as time with her husband Mark. Petrie, who just completed her seventh year, will return to her head coaching position for the 2007 season. Hilliard brings a wealth of volleyball experience to the head coaching position as he has won at the highest levels of volleyball. During his tenure at USD, the Toreros have advanced to the NCAA Tournament all five seasons with a program-best Sweet 16 appearance in 2004. Hilliard was a catalyst for the 1991 Long Beach State men's volleyball national championship team en route to earning the NCAA Player of the Year award. In 1992, Hilliard was a member of the bronze medal winning U.S. Olympic team, and one year later, he helped the U.S. earn a silver medal at the Pan American Games. Hilliard continued his volleyball career as a professional in Europe from 1995-1998, playing two seasons in Belgium and one season in the Netherlands. In 1996, Hilliard and the Maasiek Volleyball club from Belgium won the country's championship and competed in the European Champions League.

LIGHTS, CAMERA ACTION: All USD home matches, as well as select road matches, will be streamed live via video on the athletics department website. Fans can watch all the action live from the comfort of their home by logging onto usdtoreros.com. Once on the home page, click the LIVE button on the top right of the page. This is a subscription service that will give you access to live video events of USD athletic teams, coaching interviews and much more. The cost for this service will be $6.95 per month or a yearly subscription can be purchased for $49.95.

SETTING THE DINNER TABLE: Sophomore Jessica Nyrop continues to show why she is one of best setters in the country. She is leading the West Coast Conference with 847 total assists, and is second in the conference in assists per game at 13.23. The junior from Harrison, Idaho saw her string of three consecutive matches with at least 60 assists come to an end in Saturday's 3-1 win over Loyola Marymount as she recorded 50 assists. Nyrop has helped direct the San Diego offense to a .239 team attack percentage, good for third best in the WCC.

2006 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All San Diego volleyball home matches can be followed via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of Online College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action. Selected San Diego road matches are also available via Gametracker. To see if Gametracker is available for a game, go to San Diego Events at the top-right of the home page. If Gametracker is available there will be a Gametracker link.

TOREROS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN WCC: The University of San Diego was tabbed to finish third in the WCC, according to a preseason poll conducted by the conference head coaches. Santa Clara University was picked as the unanimous favorite to repeat as West Coast Conference champions in 2006. The Broncos racked up 64 points, receiving all eight first place votes to sweep the poll. Pepperdine University was picked to finish second with 55 points. San Diego was tapped for third place with 45 points, while Saint Mary's College (36) nudged past Loyola Marymount University (35) for fourth. The University of San Francisco (27), Gonzaga University (17) and the University of Portland (9) took the sixth through eighth spots, respectively.

VOLLEYBALL NOW A TICKETED SPORT: All USD volleyball home matches are now a ticketed event, effective at the start of the 2006 season. General Admission tickets will available to the general public on the day of each match. USD faculty, staff, and student tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. General admission tickets are $5 per person.